Immersion Education

Immersion Education refers to an instructional approach that immerses the child in the target language (in our case, Spanish). The language surrounds the child; the input is almost constant and it comes from multiple sources.

The child is spoken to, read to and learns subject matter in the target language in order to become a fluent speaker, reader and writer in that language. The end goal is to develop students who are bilingual and literate in both their native language and the target language.

Immersion is:

√  A teacher speaking in the target language at (almost) all times

√ A teacher providing constant accurate input

√ A teacher modeling correct language use, which includes providing subtle yet immediate corrective feedback to target specific student errors

Immersion is:

√  A child learning typical content through the target language

√  A child naturally and holistically learning a second language

√ A child encouraged to speak in his second language as much as he can every day

                                                                                Immersion is:

√  A language-rich environment, filled with the target language

√  Supportive and encouraging, gently nudging a child toward language fluency

√  Focused on developing literacy and concepts in the target language first

√  Trusting concepts and skills will transfer to later work and learning in English

√  Building cross-cultural awareness and understanding

√  Encouraging risk-taking, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and overall understanding of language (its purposes, functions and uses)

√  Content learning goals and language learning goals interwoven, and considered equally important

Immersion is the best way to learn a language.

Immersion is NOT:

√  Explicit teaching of a foreign language (as a subject area)

√  Focused on teaching verb conjugation and sentence structure

√  Teaching via translation from the child’s first language into the target/second language. For example: when teaching a new word, such as lodo, teaching through Immersion is NOT saying, “This is lodo. In English, we say mud. In Spanish, it’s lodo.” Immersion IS showing your child mud, inviting her to touch and smell it, play with it and build with it, as you are labeling it: “Lodo. Este es lodo.” Investigate it, talk about it in five different ways, even make up a funny song about it. Just keep providing the input in Spanish. Este es lodo.)

To learn more about Immersion Education and programs/schools in the U.S., visit:

CARLA – Center for Advanced Research and Language Acquisition

ACIE – American Council on Immersion Education

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